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Fun with SPAM

          Tuesday, 2-26-02.  I've been bored.  Really bored.  I went for another blood draw, like I do at least once a week to be sure I'm on the right amount of Coumadin and it went pretty much like all the other blood draws - Nothing terribly exciting.

          I also went to the Social Security Administration yesterday to give them all the information they need so that I can collect a little money from Uncle Sam if it comes to that later.  You have to be prepared, in case things don't go the way you'd like.  I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll go into remission and get back to work within a couple of months or so, but it's good to have a backup plan.  So, I wanted to put that into place.            

          There's not really much of a story there though either.  Mom and I just went there and sat down with a very nice lady who asked a lot of questions and had me sign a lot of forms, and then she explained to me that it would all be reviewed in Lansing and they'd get back to me.

          As part of the chemo, I take 1200mg of Prednisone ( the "P" in COP) per day for 5 days.  That stuff tastes terrible, by the way.  You'd think they could coat it with something just to get it past your mouth and throat without having to gag on it!  Anyway, it makes me bloat and swell and eat.  A LOT.  It's a steroid.  It also makes me very "perky", except for when I'm crashing (hard) in between them.  So, while I'm on it, I have ups and downs, mood swings and stuff like that.  At the end of 5 days, I stop taking it altogether and then I really crash hard.  So, for the last couple of days, I've been pretty out of it, like someone coming down off a long period of taking speed or something.

          Other than that, not much else has been happening since the last update, to be honest.  Hey, at least nothing bad's developed, ya know?  Always look at the positive. 

          So, I've been really bored.  I'm looking (not too intently, to be honest) for some excitement as I sit here in the dark, reading and writing and drawing and stuff, when my email program announces that I have something new in the box.

          I get several nice emails from you folks every week, and I look forward to each and every one of them.  Your kindness and humor make my day every time I receive one, and you've really become an essential part of my treatment.  I just wanted to share that with you and say, "THANKS!!"  And I really do mean it.  

          There are other dark forces that use email however, and they do not share your kind, personal sentiments and thoughts.  I'm not the only one that must deal with them, either.  I know you do too.  It's called SPAM, and I don't know ANYONE that really enjoys getting it, seeing it, deleting the tons of it, etc., etc., etc...  I've decided it's a CANCER of the net, and that (in my mind) made it relevant enough to talk about here in my journal.

          Now, you know me.  I like to look at the funny side of things, keep my humor meter running at all times and generally have a good time, no matter what.  But SPAM has always had a habit of doing just the opposite to me.  Quite frankly, it pisses me off.  And since I'd rather have fun, I decided it might be worth it to put a *little* effort into having fun with SPAM.

          So I get this message that there's new email waiting for me.  The Subject Line says: "visited your web site-http://www.BUCKCASH.com".  How nice!  Actually, quite a lot of the nice emails I get have a similar Subject Line, so I looked forward to opening and reading it.  But it was not to be.  Nope.  It was SPAM.  Evil, nasty, unwanted SPAM.  The let-down was just too much this time.  Maybe it was the Prednisone thing - I don't know.  But it pissed me off, and I had to take charge and turn it around.  I felt my mission was to grab hold of this thing that was pissing me off and force it to become fun, whether it wanted to be or not.

          I thought about it for only a moment before deciding what to do.  I would respond to it.  And I would have fun responding to it, dammit!  LOL!  

          My first impulse was to flame the living Hell out of them.   But that's the pissed off way of dealing with it, which was the very thing I was trying to overcome.

          So instead, I decided that poking them repeatedly with a stick would be much more enjoyable.  For both of us.   Maybe they would even learn something from the experience.  Ok, not likely, but sometimes I get idealistic, ya know?  LOL!

          I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing and sending it.    Feel free to send your regards to Cathy as well, telling her how much you enjoy SPAM, and you might even want to sign her up from time to time for useless... um... I mean useful things you run across out there on the net, using her email address.  I'm quite sure she'll appreciate us all returning the SPAMMING favor to her, in the fun spirit of SPAM!  I'd love to see it start making it's rounds as one of those forwarded joke emails, complete with her email address, but that's up to you.  Either way, have fun with it!

          Her original email comments are in bold, and I've left nothing of her original email out.  So, without further ado, I present for your reading pleasure, "Fun with SPAM":

-----Original Message-----
From: Cathy Fredricks [mailto:money4u0@c4.com]
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 6:11 AM
To: buckcash@buckcash.com
Subject: visited your web pages-http://www.BUCKCASH.com

>>Hello.

Hi

>>We are responding to your request for a NO COST search engine standing of your site:
http://www.BUCKCASH.com

That's impossible. I never made such a request. I would remember if I had. I'm good at remembering stuff like that. Perhaps you could forward the email where I made such a request, or just admit that you're spamming me. See, I don't care about search engine placement for my site because I'm not selling anything. It's a personal site where I show pictures of my kid's birthday parties and keep friends and family updated on the progress of my cancer. I'll admit that my personal life is a lot more interesting than most of the web sites Iíve seen out there, but there's really no need for advertising, in my mind. I could be wrong though. Apparently, I am, or you wouldnít be telling me this, after visiting my site and seeing whatís there. Hmm... Maybe I should rethink this. And itís "NO COST" huh?! Well then, tell me more!

>>We feel there is very substantial potential to publicize your site on the Internet.

I'll bet you do. But why would I want to? I mean, what's the point? Of course, who am I to question? After all, you say you've visited my site and you feel there is "very substantial potential to publicize it" on the Internet, so I must REALLY have something going on, eh? No doubt you feel that it will enrich the lives of thousands or millions of people, if we can just get them to visit. Well, I can't argue with that, though I must say, you really are flattering me quite a bit here. Why, it's almost embarrassing! Shucks! Are you married? What's your sign? Did I mention that I have cancer? Do you like cancer patients? How do you know, if you've never had one? You shouldn't let your prejudices get in the way of a meaningful relationship - even with a cancer patient. You know, cancer patients have a lot to offer. I mean, like, well, for one thing... um... you know you're not going to be stuck with them for the rest of your life. See? Can you say that about most other people? Well, there you go!

>>That is what we do - we bring traffic to our client's websites.

That's great. Thanks for telling me. I wasn't doing anything special this morning and was hoping someone like you would come along to take up some of my time. I want you to know just how much I really appreciate it. Did I mention I have cancer? Not that it matters, but you know, sometimes I get a little depressed, you know? Nobody comes around anymore like they used to. I'm mostly here all by myself all day, reading and stuff. Do you like to read? I was reading something very interesting when I was interrupted by your email. I don't remember exactly what it was now... I'll get back to it later though, and start over from the beginning so that I can get the full meaning of it once again. No big deal. Really. These little, uninvited, unwanted distractions are what make life worth living, although frankly, my time IS a bit limited due to the cancer thing, so I'm trying to squeeze in a few last things I wanted to learn or know before I go to that big server in the sky... But maybe this email from you is just as important, after all. I guess there's only one way to find out, eh? Thanks for taking the time to bring it to my attention. By the way, I think "websites" is actually supposed to be two words. You might want to check into that, just to maintain some semblance of credibility.

>>We have proprietary software and an assortment of other Internet tools designed to make your site popular and bring traffic that is interested in YOUR product area.

I have a "product area"? Could you please tell me what it is? That should be easy for you, as the subject of the email you sent to me is: "visited your web pages". So, go ahead and tell me what my "product area" is. I'm very interested to know. Why do you capitalize "Internet" in that sentence, by the way? I was just wondering. I'm sure there must be a very good reason, I just don't know what it is. And I was thinking that since you like to impart such valuable knowledge, perhaps you could enlighten me on that particular writing point. I'm always trying to become a better writer. Of course, I'm sure you noticed that when you, (how did you put it in the Subject Line? Ah yes... here we are...), "visited your (my) web pages". Yes. That would indicate that you've actually been to MY site and LOOKED at it and maybe even (gasp) saw what was there! How nice of you to notice! Did you like it? No need to gush. I can take your honest opinion. Some tell me they like my cartoons best, but others say they really enjoy the writing style, especially in my cancer journal. Did I mention I have cancer? These drugs they have me on keep me a bit muddled...

>>This has been proven to make the web profitable.

Really? The web? The WHOLE web? Even the useless parts of it? I mean, frankly, I've seen a lot of useless web sites out there that really don't seem like they could be all that profitable, but then perhaps it's a bit like thermodynamics or something. You know, like a closed system, and heat loss and energy and all that jazz... Like, some sort of "overall" type of profitability. Hmmm... It's going to take me a while to acquire the entire web. Iím not even sure Iíll have the time or resources to undertake such a task, seeing as how Iíve got this cancer and Iím going to die from it and all. Maybe I should start smaller, like with just my web site - the one I have now - instead of the whole web. What about my web site in particular? Is it proven to make my web site profitable? How much money do you think I can make selling pictures of my kid's birthday party? Or do you think we should focus on the cancer thing? Maybe youíve thought of a way to combine kidís birthday parties with cancer? Youíve obviously put a lot of thought into this. My, my, my... so many decisions! Thank goodness you've already visited my site and are ready to tell me how to make it profitable. You know, I just have to say at this point: You ROCK! There. I said it, and I'm glad I did. I'm not the least embarrassed about it either. It's good to get that off my chest. Now if I could just get this cancer out of my body. Did I mention that I have cancer? Lymphoma. Incurable. Nasty stuff...

>>Understanding the reality of search vehicle positioning and the marketing of your site is essential to a successful web business.

Wow! Search "VEHICLES" they call them now. That's COOL!! Are there different kinds, like Fords and Chevy's and Pontiacs and Cadillacs and Volkswagens, or are they all more like tricycles with 5 year old SPAMMERS furiously peddling them? And you give this valuable information out for FREE?! Do you realize what info like that might be worth? You should go into business or something!! Wow! How extraordinary!! I'd never even thought of cornering the market on cancer OR pictures of my kid's birthday party before, let alone combining the two! Can you believe that?! I mean, it never even occurred to me once! You're an absolute genius! You know, it all seems so simple, once someone like you finally brings it out into the light. I feel so dumb now. Of course, it might just be the Morphine talking. Did you ever take Morphine? It works goooooooooooood. Really. No lie. Cancer though, well, thatís another thing... Nasty stuff, that cancer...

>>Let us provide the basic information for you to take control of key business factors of the Internet.

"Key business factors".... Ooooohhh... I love it when you talk that way... Tell me again how many million$ of dollar$ you figure I can make selling pictures of my kid's birthday party and cancer on the net! Ooooohhhh! I'm feeling absolutely LU$TY with greed already!! You make it sound so EASY! Or should I say, "EZ", like a marketing thing? (Should I have put a hyphen in between "E" and "Z"? Iím new at this marketing stuff...)

Oh, you know, I just thought of something else that's probably important: We should establish some kind of time line (the shorter, the better) because I have this cancer (did I mention that I have cancer?) and it's not curable (lymphoma - I'm sure you already read that on my web site) so I'm going to, you know, die, and I'd really like to make it big BEFORE I go take that looooong dirt nap. Like they say, you can't take it with you! And it's going to be really difficult taking pictures of those next several birthday parties, seeing as how I'll be dead and all, so you know, this thing might not last as long as we'd like. I think we should take advantage of it while I'm still alive, if you know what I mean. Any thoughts on that? Any thoughts on anything? Is this thing on?

You capitalized "Internet" again. I get that it's a noun, but I just never really thought of it as a "proper" noun, you know, like a persons's name. Though I guess it IS a place, sort of, and we DO capitalize places, like Washington D.C. and California and Detroit and Chicago and Hell and Montana (Did I spell that right? I can never remember if it's 2 "n's" after the 1st "a" or just 1 - How do you remember that? Is there, like, a trick to it?) and Detroit... umm... did I mention Detroit? I'm from Detroit. Where are you from? Is it nice there? Weíve been having a pretty mild winter here, though I donít get out much because of the cancer, you know...

>>Your position on the first page of a search vehicle is absolutely critical to your success.

I'm sure you're right. Yes, definitely positive you're right about this. After all, you're the expert. Now, just tell me how much money we're going to reap in by the bushel selling pictures of my kid's birthday party on the net, WORLD-WIDE! GLOBAL BABY!! Oh, man, this is going to be GREAT!! You know, I don't think I've had this much fun since I was first diagnosed with cancer. Did I mention that I have cancer? Lymphoma. Non-curable type. Nasty stuff. The chemo's not too bad most of the time, except for puking my guts out once in a while, usually the day after I get it. Oh! And the Prednisone! THAT stuff tastes SO nasty, ya know what I mean? Well, you probably don't. Unless you have cancer too. Do you have cancer? Would you like to have cancer? Sometimes people say that all SPAMMERS should get cancer and die. I don't say that, but some do. Some people are mean, you know? They can't help it probably. Something to do with their upbringing or something like that. I wouldn't pay attention to them at all, if I were you.

>>Your complete search vehicle analysis is WITHOUT CHARGE.

WOW!!! How do you folks stay in business providing this invaluable service for FREE?! That's amazing!! A "search vehicle analysis", eh? That would be like, what? You look in a search engine (sorry - I meant "vehicle"), see that my site is not on the front page, and conclude that... it's not on the front page? How insightful! Magnificent! I should start my own business! How much capital does it take to start doing what you do? Did you have to get a loan or something, or do you, like, work for someone else doing this? I'm just wondering, because I could use some extra income. Do you know if there are any special places for cancer patients to get loans to start a business like this? It seems like a lot of places think loaning money to cancer patients isn't a good idea because they, well, you know, die, so then it's hard to collect from them. Do you think that's fair? Could you loan me some money? It doesn't have to be a lot, just whatever you can afford. See, when I got this cancer I lost my job because I was in the hospital and it was killing me. No, really, they thought I was going to die. It was pretty scary. Did you ever think you were going to die? I mean, REALLY die? Nasty stuff, that cancer... Donít get it, if you can help it. Thatís my advice.

>>Please REPLY to this email

That's exactly what I'm doing. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of replying to it several hundred times per day for the next few weeks, just so that I can be sure you get the message. I have some really cool programs my geek pals have given me over the years that will even do it for me without me having to lift a finger hardly - all automatic - sort of like, well... like SPAM. Are you familiar with that term? It's a lot like, um... CANCER. Yeah, that's it. SPAM = CANCER. Like a cancer of the net! It's source is a TUMOR. A tumor is a MUTATION of an otherwise normal, healthy cell. Are you seeing any kind of correlation here? I'm just wondering because sometimes my humor (hey, that rhymes with "Tumor"!) and my sarcasm mix together a bit too much, and then people get a little lost in it and they begin to have difficulty following me. Are you lost yet? Would you like to get lost? Did I mention that I have cancer? Lymphoma. Incurable. Nasty stuff... Donít get it, if you can help it. Thatís my advice.

>>and include your:
- Full Name:

But... you already have it...??? Are you on drugs too? (Just shout out the answers when you know them!) I hate being on drugs, but you know, I have this cancer, so I don't have a choice. It's either the drugs or incredible pain, like you wouldn't believe! But the drugs... Oh, man, you know, they really dull my sense of wit and sarcasm. You should see me when I'm not all drugged up like I am right now. I'm much better at it then. It's like, "This is your cancer. This is your cancer on drugs - Any questions?" That reminds me... Nancy Reagan said, "Just say no." but what did Nancy Reagan know? Was she on drugs? Did she have cancer? Well, maybe she did, I don't know. But I was raised to say, "No, THANK YOU." I mean, there's no reason not to be polite, you know? Even if you have cancer. Did I mention that I have cancer? Nasty stuff, that cancer...

>>- Telephone #:

Why do you want my phone number? This is a web site thingy, right? Can people telephone my web site? Is that some kind of new technology, because I haven't heard of it yet, and I pretty much try to keep up on all the newest geeky stuff (hobby of mine, you understand, like the SPAM-BOTs I may be using later with your email address...) Can we sell cancer over the phone now, the way weíll soon be doing over the net with your totally awesome marketing and search vehicle positioning strategies? Iím thinking we could do, like, a 900 number or something, like one of those adult phone line things, maybe. You know, "For Lymphoma, press 1" "For Lung Cancer, press 2" "For Colon Cancer, press 3", etc... What do you think? I'm just throwing ideas out here, you know? Maybe you already have a tried and true method of selling cancer over the phone, or over the net... Wait... are we talking about cancer or SPAM now? They're so similar, you know... and I get confused so easily on these drugs... Are you confused, or do you know what I'm saying? Well, I'm not really saying it, I'm typing it, but it's kind of the same thing, don't you think? Have you ever thought about that? I think about things like that. But it might just be the Morphine talking - I don't really know...

>>- WEB site :

But, uh... how could you already have forgotten? I do hope this doesn't reflect the level of attention you plan to show if we decide to pursue this together. I just don't think I would be very comfortable working with someone who addresses me with my web site in the email they've sent (saying you visited it even - Gee Wally, I mean Cathy, you weren't lying to me about that were you?), along with a request within that same email wanting to know what my web site is. I'm terribly sorry, but quite frankly, you're beginning to make me a bit nervous. Did my ex-wife send you? Is this something against cancer patients? What did cancer patients ever do to you to make you want to do this? Don't you think it's wrong to play on people's feelings by telling them that you visited their web site and read their cancer journal where they shared the intimate details of their own personal tragedy when you didn't? Or did you? Did I mention I have cancer? Nasty stuff, that cancer... You know what I tell people? Donít get it, if you can help it. Thatís my advice. No charge. Youíre welcome.

>>I think you will be very surprised by the detail and results of our analysis.

I'm already quite surprised by your in-depth look at your potential clientele. You must want my business pretty badly. The level of research you've put into this thus far is nothing short of staggering, I must say! How do you find the time? I mean, I have lots of time. Well, I mean I have lots of time during the day to do research. Well, I say "day" but it's not really necessarily "day". It could be "night". See, I'm on all these drugs because of the cancer, so I nap a lot. And then I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm wide awake and I can't sleep, so I sit here and read and respond to emails and stuff like that. Sometimes I puke too, because of the chemo, but not too often. Usually just for a few days after the chemo. I wonder if they'll ever come up with some kind of chemo for SPAM? Do you think that's possible? Just think if we could cure SPAM... That would be almost as great a human achievement as curing cancer, don't you think? First though, you have to find the TUMOR that's producing it, and then KILL it. See that's the tough part about SPAM, I mean cancer, I mean Lymphoma - finding the TUMOR so you can kill it. It hides really good. You can keep cleaning up all the cancerous cells it puts out, but it just keeps putting out more and more and more and more of them until there's nothing you can do anymore to stop it. Nasty stuff, that cancer...

>>money4u0@c4.com(Cathy Fredricks)

Cathy, please don't change your email address for awhile. I have a LOT of places I want to use it. Thanks.

>>World Wide Attractions

You know, I did a search for "World Wide Attractions" but it didn't show up on the search engines. Well, nothing that could have been you, anyway. Don't you think you should do something to get your position on the front page of the "search vehicle"? After all, it's absolutely critical to your success, remember? You said so yourself. I would think that you'd like to show how good you are at promoting other's web sites and driving traffic (Get it? Driving? Traffic? Vehicle?) by showing that you can do it with your own first. It's just a thought. Do you even have a web site to promote? I notice that you didn't give an address to one in your email to me. Don't you think that it would be appropriate for you to have a web site yourself, if you're going to be in business promoting web sites? I'm sorry. I don't mean to doubt your abilities here, but I'm getting a little scared because I just don't know what all this could mean if you don't even have a web site yourself. I could make you a web site if you don't know how to make it yourself. Or my 14 year old daughter can make you one, if you don't know how to make it yourself. It's actually pretty easy, even for most children today. I'm surprised you haven't got one. Did you see the one my kid made, in between birthday parties? What am I thinking?! Of course you did! You told me you visited my site (I'm just so forgetful on these drugs sometimes). Nasty stuff, that cancer...

>>If by some misunderstanding we received your request, click reply and type take away in the subject line.

The sentence structure and punctuation is a bit lacking, but I think I get the idea. This is the part where you try to pretend that you're not spamming me, that you simply made a mistake and you're sorry and you'll remove me from your "Nice People to SPAM" database if I respond in a particular way. Of course, we both know that's a lie, but it was fun anyway, wasn't it? Sure it was. I can appreciate the humor in that. Cancer patients arenít all gloom and doom, you know. We have a sense of humor just like anyone else. The doctors say that my sense of humor is a really good thing to keep my spirits up in the face of certain death. I see the humor in almost everything around me. For example, I think youíre pretty funny, trying to convince me that I can sell cancer on the internet - oops, I forgot to capitalize it - Internet. There. Thatís better. Where was I? Oh, yeah... funny. You should try stand-up if this web promotion SPAM thing doesnít work out for you.

I really look forward to getting to know your email address intimately over the next few months. I should have it memorized within a few days. Many others are looking forward to sending you advertising as well. They just don't know it yet. But they will. They can help you solve lots and lots and lots of problems you didnít even know you had with their thousands of products and services. Theyíll tell you all about it though, so donít worry about what those problems are just yet. I'm particularly pleased to do my part to promote unmitigated, unwanted, unwarranted, unneeded promotions by email. Especially since I'll be using YOUR email address to do it. Think nothing of it. Really. did I mention I have cancer? Did you really like my web pages, or are you just trying to humor me in some way? Give my love to the family.

Thanks, and have a nice day. :>)

Sincerely,

Buck R. Cash (The guy that DIDN'T ask you to contact me.)

          You know, that really made me feel good for some reason.   I figure she's got my email address blocked by now, so I won't be able to send her the many, many emails I'd like to, but you know what?  She doesn't have YOUR email address blocked.  At least, not yet... hehehe...  Yes, it will probably put your email address into her database if you decide to send her a little "note", but you know what?  If you've ever gotten any SPAM, you're in it (and a thousand others) already, so what's the harm?  Might as well have some fun with it, right?

          Educating SPAMMERS is a slow, difficult process that has little reward beyond personal satisfaction.  But I've found that personal satisfaction can go a long way toward making you feel better about the world you live in.  Maybe we just need to start by educating SPAMMERS one at a time...
                                                               
          I hope you all find ways to turn around the things in your life that piss you off, and poke fun at them instead.  Trust me, it's worth the effort!  

          Next: Tooning Up
                                                            Buck